The New York Islanders welcome the hated New York Rangers to the Barclays Center tonight. This game might not be as vital for the standings as of Tuesday’s game, but it means just as much.
Just like Jason Chimera, New York Islanders fans hate the New York Rangers. It’s not something that we actively pursue. It’s just something that is.
It doesn’t matter that the Islanders are 15 points back of the Rangers this games means something because we just don’t like them. Local bragging rights matter, and right now bragging right are up for grabs.
In the two meetings between the rival clubs, the series is split at one a piece. The Rangers took the first meeting at the start of the season 5-3. The Islanders responded a month later with a 4-2 win of their own.
This game will serve as the tie-breaker until the two meet again on March 22nd for the final time of the season. For a whole month, the winner of this game can know they’re the better of the two New York teams. (Sorry Buffalo, you matter, but not in this case).
Forget the standings, at least for this game. The head-to-head is all that matters right now. Sure, the Islanders need the two points to continue that push for the playoffs. But, just beating the Rangers is the sole purpose tonight. Two points are icing on the cake.
Three goals in his last four games isn’t generally hot, Anders Lee has five points in his last five. But Chimera has been that constant presence, every night he gets at least one great opportunity.
When he was signed to that two-year $4 million contract, it wasn’t expected that the 37-year-old could contribute to the same level he did in the previous season with Washington. He’s on pace for 33 points, seven shy of last years total. And that’s considering he went a month at the start if the season without a point. So, 40 points might just be possible.
Tuesday’s game was a stinker. We know that, the team knows it, and Doug Weight stated just that in his post game. But losing 7-1 on the night that all of this winning was gearing towards, puts a big dent in the ego.
A date against their bitter rivals is probably the best thing for the team. The concentration is less about the points in the standings, then it is going out there and doing your best to make the Rangers feel like they did two days ago.
New York Islanders Lineup
Ladd-Quine-Chimera de Haan-Seidenberg
Gionta-Cizikas-Kulemin Greiss (Berube)
Where To Catch The Game:
Radio: AM970 – The Answer, 88.7FM – WRHU, 103.9FM – LI News